Is Having a 20 Game Conference Schedule Here to Stay, or Just A Fad?

John Calipari is fed up about the change the ACC will be doing, and the Big Ten may soon follow suit

I found this interesting article from the sports media site Awful Announcing on June 13.  Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari, in addition to having a really cool podcast simply called CalCast which I highly suggest subscribing to–was quoted in USA Today via a teleconference call with the other coaches in the SEC about the possible move to having 20 conference games each season instead of the current 18.

The simple reason, the TV networks of ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and CBS want more money.

Taking his comments which I posted below at face value, I have to be honest.  With the ACC slated to move in this direction come 2019-2020 as part of their new cable channel of the ACC Network, the marquee and sometimes sexy matchups of the early part of the non-conference may become fewer and far between unlike in years past.

Here are Coach Calipari’s comments about why he mostly does not support the SEC’s possible change to a 20 game conference schedule:

“They need more inventory for their own network so you just play more league games and then you have more inventory for your network to put on,” Hopefully in our case in this league (the Southeastern Conference) we stay where we are and if we don’t, we’ll make it work.”

What you do is, you take away some of those kind of games that have been good to us.  North Carolina, for example: If they go to 20 games we won’t have any more series with North Carolina, so I’m not for it.

I think teams can use those last two games to put their own schedule together.  If you need a tougher game, if you have a rivalry game, if you need an easier game, if your team needs a team they can beat or a team they’re challenged by, if they need a road game, you can do it with those two games.”

In basic terms, those games will be more than likely be played between December 26 and January 2 when all students are on holiday break.  The Big Ten usually has a conference game as part of a New Year’s Eve blowout of staging a quadrupleheader for their AT&T U-Verse and Comcast based subscribers.

What will this mean as far as schools being pegged in future NCAA Tournaments?  Too early to tell, but logic tells me that scheduling difficult non-conference games and winning them on the road usually leads to Top 4 seed status, not easy 40 point wins against teams in the lower third of the RPI rankings.

At the very least, the fans will be treated to more games–isn’t that what we all crave for during the constant stream of all college football bowl games, all the time every December?  It would more than likely become a welcome respite, but we will see how this all plays out in the future.



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